Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beets: 2 for 1

One of the things I love about beets is that I feel like I'm getting a deal every time I buy them. I get the lusciousness of the red root, but I also get the power packed goodness of the greens. It's a great buy for our budget conscious family, and I haven't even mentioned the benefits beets provide. Check this out for details.

I used to be intimidated by preparing beets, but I've settled into the following easy prep for the roots:

Preheat oven to 400.
Cut greens away from roots and set aside.
Wash roots thoroughly and wrap in aluminum foil.
Place in oven safe dish and cook until tender to a fork.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Peel away skin (should slide off pretty easily) and prepare as desired.

We eat them cut up with nothing on them or a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil or chop them up on a salad with mixed greens, feta cheese, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Orange juice is a nice compliment to beets, so I sometimes squeeze a fresh orange and olive oil over my salad with beets.

This week I cut up the roasted beets and tossed them with some onion, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Simple and yummy. Even better the second day. For something a little more complex, try this one.

As for the greens, I did a water saute and served them as a side dish and let everyone choose their own flavoring (soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon or orange, sea salt, etc.). Here's how to "cook" them (I put cook in " " because it's so easy it might not be considered true cooking!):

Cut leaves away from stems and discard (or cut into small pieces to cook and eat--throw them in a couple minutes before the greens, if you want to eat them--we do, others don't--it's up to you!)
Chop leaves into bite size pieces.
Submerge greens in water and let sit for a minute or two to remove dirt. Drain and repeat until water is clear.
Warm a little water (not enough to cover the bottom) in a skillet with tight fitting lid over medium heat.
Once the water begins to steam, add your greens.
Cover and turn off heat.
Walk away for 5-7 minutes, then check greens to be sure they have cooked, but are still bright green.
Easier than pie, AND everyone gets to participate in the final step by choosing their own flavor!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Glorious Greens!

Last night was our Whole Food Creates Whole People class, and we focused on dark, leafy greens. It was a great reminder that I need to be extremely intentional about getting at least one serving of greens each day, especially this time of year. They are full of vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity (stay away H1N1!) and depression (a nice perk during gray January days). I know that my best days are the ones that contain greens at every meal and sometimes in-between, so today, just for fun, I did the following:

Almond butter, muscadine jelly, spinach sandwich.

Yep you read it right--I put spinach on my almond butter sandwich! It was actually quite tasty. I tried this radical idea back in September when I had some fresh arugula by putting a few leaves on my p-nut butter and honey wrap and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the flavors together. Now it's a given that some sort of dark, leafy green goes on any sandwich I make. At least once. Give it a go yourself and see how you like it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mung Mash

OK, I have to admit upfront that this recipe is not the prettiest dish I've ever made, but on the flip side, it might be one of the easiest, and it's really tasty. It's actually a variation on this recipe.

Mung beans are relatively new to me, but not the health store where I shop--they have them in the bulk section, which rocks my world, because that means it's a cheap meal. I have since discovered that mung beans contain high levels of protein, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins (which help boost your mood during this gray time of year). The best part, especially after the holidays, is that they have only 30 calories for a whole cup.

Here's what you need:
  • Crock pot
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups Mung Beans washed and picked over
  • 1 medium sized sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 2-3 medium sized carrots, chopped into small pieces(optional)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (optional)
  • 1-2 hand fulls of fresh, raw spinach (or other green)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil or butter (optional)
Here's what to do:
  • Wash and pick through the beans to remove anything that doesn't look like a bean.
  • Chop the onion and set it aside while you...
  • Put the beans in the crock pot with 4 cups of fresh water.
  • Turn on the pot to cook at least 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low (actual cooking time will depend on your pot, of course. I cooked on high for 3 hours, then turned them off for an additional hour).
  • Throw in the onion.
  • Walk away.
  • When beans are getting to the soft stage, add salt and pepper to taste and the oil. This is when I also added the carrots and turned off the pot ( I don't like my carrots too mushy!).
  • Chop up some fresh spinach while warming up brown rice.
  • Serve as a stacker...
    • Brown Rice on bottom
    • Chopped spinach in the middle
    • Mung Mash on top
  • Option: top it all off with a little sour cream or grated cheese.
  • Enjoy with 4 or 5 of your favorite people!
Leftover love--throw some of the mash straight out of the fridge into a wrap with some fresh spinach leaves and Voila! You have an easy lunch for home or on the go.